Timeouts for Toddlers? New Parenting Study Has Surprising Results

New research shows the most effective way to discipline your toddler.
4:08 | 08/07/15

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Transcript for Timeouts for Toddlers? New Parenting Study Has Surprising Results
Reporter: Tantrums and toddlers of we have seen them everywhere in films like "Daddy day care." And even in the white house. But when it comes to how to handle them, most parents are divided. Some choosing to love their toddlers through it. Parents can really use it as a teachable moment to show their kids how to problem solve and to teach them how to express themselves. Reporter: And others choosing to ignore the fit and enforce a time-out. When a child is really being defiant, they're hitting, they're overwhelmed with emotion, that child is best suited for a time-out. Reporter: But before parental battle lines are drawn a new study says both sides are actually right. Researchers from Oklahoma Tate university interviewed 102 moms who provided details descriptions of five times they had to discipline their kids for hitting, whining or defiance and found out toddlers needed reasoning. When it comes to this woman's little ones she prefers the nurturing approach especially for her 4-year-old son. I try to calm him down, get him, you know, whether to use his words or get control over his emotions and then from there decide what my next step is. Reporter: For "Good morning America," Reena ninan, ABC news, New York. All right, joining us now are parenting expert Ericka souter and Dr. Richard Besser. Ericka, what do you think about this? The first thing to remember from the study there is no one size fits all way to discipline your kid. Every kid is different. It's about knowing your kid. The second great thing is that we're now hearing time-outs can be a good thing and we should realize when it's appropriate. The study had lots of interesting information. That small demographic of moms felt -- many felt negotiating with your kid, talking them through their tantrum or the upset period was a good idea but interestingly enough in the long term that method may not be so helpful. When they're teenagers and talk back, I know. Definitely doesn't work. So you're a pediatrician, how does this stack up with what you recommend? It's in line. There is no one way to did this. There is a whole variety of tools so in addition -- there's times when you want to negotiate and compromise but there are other things you should know about. The first one is called natural consequences. So you have a little child there. You go I have them a cookie, they throw it on the floor. You don't keep replacing it. Logical consequence, they have a toy. They break it. You don't keep replacing it. They learn you break your toy and it's gone. There's withholding privileges which tends to work as kids get older and things they want to do. That's effective. No phone. Exactly. And then time-outs. Time-outs can be really effective but so many parents talk to me about how hard they are and challenging to get going. Yeah, the time-outs thing, I did that a lot but when you have a child that's kicking and screaming like a full-blown tantrum it's hard to get them to stay. If you threaten the time-out you have to follow through on this. You have to keep going and the next thing you want to do is you want to make sure you do it immediately. Don't wait a half hour or until they calm down. Get down to their level and you explain, this is why you're in a time-out. This is what you've done. You add time if -- that's what I always did, the longer you do it, the longer you're going to be there. In the middle of it, it's hard to do it. It is. So best advice as you said there is no one right -- one fit for all. So what would you say to parents who are like, I'm still not sure which way to go. Learn the tools. Trust your instincts. Make sure both parents are on the same page. Good call. And lastly recognize when you as a parent also need a time-out. Walk away. I do. Times you have to walk away. Can you take a nap. Mommy needs a time-out. Yes. Usually involves wine. All right, hey, we want to thank both of you and let you know we asked do you give your children time-outs? 74% of you said you did. 26% said no. The other question will be whether they work. That's next week. Our super shopping secrets turning your trash to treasure.

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